Special Issue "Sustainability vs Uncontrollability: COVID-19 and Crisis Impact on the Hospitality and Tourism Community"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Myong Jae Lee
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
The Collins College of Hospitality Management, California State Polytechnic University Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona), Pomona, CA 91768, USA
Interests: consumer behavior; service marketing; MICE
Dr. Saehya Ann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism, California State University, East Bay, Hayward, CA 94568, USA
Interests: human resources management; generational study; service marketing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As we all know, the fast-moving and unexplained COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting the hospitality and tourism industry. This current crisis will irrevocably change our industry, academic engagement, and customer behaviors. The industry is often forced to weather situations beyond its control, such as natural disasters, weather changes, global warming, and novel viruses such as SARS-CoV (emerged and spread in 2002 and 2003), MERS-CoV (became epidemic in 2015), norovirus (first identified in 1968), and COVID-19 (began proliferating in 2019).

Historically, when confronted with uncontrollable circumstances, such as pandemics or natural disasters, industry and academia are both pushed to respond drastically; each will alter the course of daily life, innovate new practices, and quickly respond to shifts in culture. These immediate responses cause drastic fluctuations within the industry and academia and are, ultimately, unsustainable. The journal Sustainability invites submissions regarding this topic for a Special Issue entitled “Sustainability vs. Uncontrollability: COVID-19 and Crisis Impact on the Hospitality and Tourism Community”, for which more information follows.

Hospitality and tourism organizations across the industry are struggling; sustainability is especially hard during a crisis. Permanent and temporary layoffs are inevitable for the survival of many global hospitality and tourism organizations. COVID-19 outbreaks limit traveler mobility and hotels observe a drop in occupancy rates and revenue per available room (RevPar) as travelers stay at home. The airline industry is equally impacted, with worldwide airline companies seeing a staggering 100% decline in net bookings. It is clear that uncontrollable factors and events in the world adversely affect the hospitality and tourism industry and its performance, and these are only few examples from the industry’s chaotic situation.

Customers are also frustrated and frightened by the changed policies and the “new normal,” so they have developed a new consumer behavior to which the industry must adapt. The key to success for all hospitality and tourism organizations is to identify early indicators of these consumer actions and provide proper service based on the current customer behaviors.

College students are also highly affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. The shelter in place order was declared in several states, and schools are closed until further notice. Usually, breaks and vacations are a time of rejoice for students, but this unbounded and forced break make their learning experience unsustainable, unenjoyable, and chaotic. The closure of universities and additional services to students, including advising, housing, testing, health and wellness facilities and services result in financial aid, accessibility services, and business office operations being available virtually, though somewhat limited. The student learning environment has rapidly changed from in-person courses to distance learning. In addition to these changes, many students are going through financial hardships due to the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak. As this challenging time persists, some even face emotional and psychological issues.

Hospitality and tourism educators need to make necessary changes to their methods, teaching modes, and strategies both during and after a crisis. Ideally, a teacher should be provided with the necessary resources that are helpful for the altered educational conditions in a timely manner.  Despite all these changes, teachers’ emotions (such as frustration and fear) should not affect students’ behaviors and performances, regardless of their role as equal sufferers in the pandemic. Thus, educators should be provided with equal fiscal and mental health resources. 

It is essential to examine if the hospitality and tourism industry and academia have responded properly to overcome these challenges sustainably. If yes, then what are the strategies and solutions now being developed and adjusted to prepare the hospitality and tourism community, including businesses, employees, customers, students, and faculty, to sustainably survive before, during, and after a crisis? If not, then it is never too late to scrutinize how the hospitality and tourism community can sustainably respond to a crisis, but not be vulnerable to attacks from uncontrollable factors and events.

In line with this, Sustainability invites submissions in the form of case studies, literature reviews, research articles, research notes, and viewpoints for a Special Issue on “Sustainability vs. Uncontrollability: COVID-19 and Crisis Impact on the Hospitality and Tourism Community.” The goal of this Special Issue is to compile timely responses to the needs of the hospitality and tourism community during an uncontrollable crisis and point toward the eventual benefits and sustainability of fostering wellbeing within the community. 

This Special Issue calls for papers in the areas listed below, but not limited to:

  • Sustainable operation and management strategies and development
  • Cases of overcoming a crisis in the hospitality and tourism industry
  • Crisis management
  • Risk management
  • Sustainable corporate level policies and responses
  • Sustainable cost and expenses management for crisis management
  • Long-term and sustainable implications for the hospitality and tourism industry
  • Sustainable action agenda/action guide
  • Development in sustainable incident management and scenario plans
  • Developing sustainable contingency plans
  • Sustainable new order system
  • Sustainable ways for global hospitality and tourism recovery post-COVID-19
  • Corporate social responsibility and sustainability
  • Responses to and strategies and practices for a crisis that support a sustainable student learning experience and a sustainable learning environment
  • Academia’s role in hospitality and tourism during the uncontrollable situation 
  • Sustainable human resources strategies for employees’ personal life and career security
  • Changes in hospitality and tourism customer behavior and the impact on the industry and sustainable management and operation
Dr. Myong Jae Lee
Dr. Saehya Ann
Guest Editors

References

  1. Frenzel, A. C., Goetz, T., Stephens, E. J., Jacob, B. (2009), Antecedents and effects of teachers’ emotional experiences: An integrated perspective and empirical test, In Advances in teacher emotion research, (pp. 129-151). Springer, Boston, MA.
  2. Hargreaves, A. (2001), Emotional geographies of teaching. Teachers College Record, 103, 1056–1080.
  3. How covid-19 is interrupting children’s education. The economist, Available online: 
  4. https://www.economist.com/international/2020/03/19/how-covid-19-is-interrupting-childrens-education (accessed on  23 March 2020).
  5. How higher education is reacting to the new coronavirus pandemic. INSIDE HIGHER ED, Available online: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/03/23/live-updates-latest-news-coronavirus-and-higher-education (accessed on  23 March 2020).
  6. Key consumer behavior thresholds identified as the CORONAVIRUS outbreak evolves. INSIGHTS, Available online: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2020/key-consumer-behavior-thresholds-identified-as-the-coronavirus-outbreak-evolves/ (accessed on  23 March 2020).

 

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainable management and operation
  • Uncontrollability
  • Crisis management
  • Viral disease impact on the hospitality and tourism industry
  • Sustainable learning environment for students
  • Sustainable teaching environment for educators
  • Academia’s role in a crisis
  • Corporate role in a crisis
  • Hospitality and tourism community

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
A Study of Emotional Solidarity in the Homestay Industry between Hosts and Tourists in the Post-Pandemic Era
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7458; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137458 - 04 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 722
Abstract
Tourists’ perceptions of various risks at their travel destinations have crucial implications for destination management organizations and other tourism industry practitioners, which is growing into an unprecedented concern in the post-pandemic era. The Internet has boosted the global homestay industry. The perceived risk [...] Read more.
Tourists’ perceptions of various risks at their travel destinations have crucial implications for destination management organizations and other tourism industry practitioners, which is growing into an unprecedented concern in the post-pandemic era. The Internet has boosted the global homestay industry. The perceived risk of homestay tourists requires further attention from researchers to promote the sustainable development of the homestay industry, especially in the post-pandemic era. To supplement and enrich the literature, this study aims to explore the relationships between tourists’ perceived risk, three dimensions of tourists’ emotional solidarity with hosts (feeling welcome, sympathetic understanding, and emotional closeness), and their customer loyalty towards the homestay industry in the post-pandemic era by taking the homestay industry of Guangzhou, China as the context, and employing SmartPLS for the empirical analysis. The results indicate that perceived risk has a significantly negative impact on emotional solidarity and customer loyalty, while emotional solidarity has a significantly positive impact on customer loyalty and plays a partial mediating role in the relationship between perceived risk and customer loyalty. The theoretical contributions of the article and the practical implications of the findings for the sustainable development of the homestay industry are discussed. Full article
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Article
Understanding the New Characteristics and Development Strategies of Coastal Tourism for Post-COVID-19: A Case Study in Korea
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7408; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137408 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 934
Abstract
The COVID-19 outbreak has restricted international travel, halting tourism globally. Thus, travel demand has shifted from international to domestic destinations. The prolonged travel restriction has changed travel trends and travelers’ behaviors, adversely affecting the tourism industry worldwide. This study attempted to understand and [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 outbreak has restricted international travel, halting tourism globally. Thus, travel demand has shifted from international to domestic destinations. The prolonged travel restriction has changed travel trends and travelers’ behaviors, adversely affecting the tourism industry worldwide. This study attempted to understand and examine the changes in travel preferences, such as choice of destinations, activities, and transportation modes, following the COVID-19 outbreak. This study used primary survey data of 200 respondents collected in June 2020 and secondary survey data collected by the Korea Tourism Organization in 2015 and 2017. The study also examined the role of the government in supporting strategies to prepare for the post-COVID tourism landscape. The analysis showed that the pandemic has caused travelers to favor short-haul destinations where non-contact (socially distanced) travel is possible. The study also found that the distributed land strategy that can make “untact” tourism a possibility could boost the struggling tourism industry. Full article
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Article
Tourism in a Post-COVID-19 Era: Sustainable Strategies for Industry’s Recovery
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6781; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13126781 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1413
Abstract
In the COVID-19 outbreak context, some industries were seriously affected, and the T&T (travel and tourism) industry is unarguably one of those industries. As the world is slowly moving towards a recovery stage, T&T is lagging in the recovery process, mainly because of [...] Read more.
In the COVID-19 outbreak context, some industries were seriously affected, and the T&T (travel and tourism) industry is unarguably one of those industries. As the world is slowly moving towards a recovery stage, T&T is lagging in the recovery process, mainly because of people’s perception of safety and a new, more cautious behavior when buying products that are not essential for survival, such as T&T products. In order to discover sustainable recovery paths for the industry and the real impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on consumer perceptions and purchasing behavior, the current quantitative research was developed on the basis of two different representative samples in two different moments: May 2020 and December 2020, with a focus on Romania’s population. The main results indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced travel patterns and habits regarding philological and economic factors. Psychological factors, primarily the fear of contamination, impact travelers’ willingness to travel and the conditions and preferences for vacation destinations. At least in the medium term, people will avoid traveling in large groups and being in crowded places. Hygiene and health conditions in the host destination can represent essential factors in travel decisions. Confronted with a cautious clientele, tourism businesses (such as transport, accommodation, and catering) should further enhance their hygiene conditions to restore confidence. Moreover, communication is essential in these challenging times to tackle travelers’ fear and concerns. Full article
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Article
The Art of Survival: Tourism Businesses in Thailand Recovering from COVID-19 through Brand Management
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6690; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13126690 - 12 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1169
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to employ the existing theory on crisis management and corporate branding in a service context to explore how tourism businesses in Thailand can recover from the crisis caused by the impact of COVID-19. To manage the impact [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to employ the existing theory on crisis management and corporate branding in a service context to explore how tourism businesses in Thailand can recover from the crisis caused by the impact of COVID-19. To manage the impact of COVID-19, the concepts of crisis management from different scholars are integrated, and crisis management is divided into three phases: the Pre-Crisis, Crisis, and Post-Crisis phases. This exploratory research employs stakeholder interviews to discover the impacts of COVID-19 on tourism businesses and attempts to develop guidelines for recovering tourism businesses within the service context. Our findings indicate that a strong brand and its proper management can help firms to survive during the crisis period. Moreover, our findings highlight the importance of communication for engaging with all staff during the recovery period. This paper sheds light on how a brand is employed as a proactive strategy to mitigate the impacts of the crisis. Most brands have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and only strong brands are able to survive. Our study also adds to the limited empirical evidence on tourism business recovery during COVID-19 in the context of a developing country. From practitioners’ perspectives, trust, solid relationships, and honest communication with their business partners play an important role in survival after the crisis. Additionally, in this paper, corporate branding is conceived as a strategic tool that affects how staff and stakeholders can collaborate and unite in response to the crisis. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of the Economic, Environmental, and Social Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Japanese Tourism Industry
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10302; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su122410302 - 09 Dec 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2965
Abstract
According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) annual Emissions Gap Report 2019, further reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are needed to reduce climate change impacts. In Japan, the 2030 Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) target is an emissions reduction of 26% [...] Read more.
According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) annual Emissions Gap Report 2019, further reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are needed to reduce climate change impacts. In Japan, the 2030 Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) target is an emissions reduction of 26% compared to 2013. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has led to 43,341,451 confirmed cases and 1,157,509 confirmed deaths globally and affected 218 countries (as of 27 October 2020). In Japan, as of the same date, 96,948 infectious cases and 1724 deaths related to the new coronavirus had been recorded. These numbers continue to increase. In Japan, in March 2020, the number of international tourist arrivals decreased by about 93% compared to last year at the same period. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reported several significant scenarios for the tourism industry. COVID-19 is the greatest shock to international tourism since 1950 and represents an abrupt end to the 10-year period of sustained growth that followed the 2009 financial crisis. It was thought that it would be possible to analyze the economic, environmental, and social impacts of rapid social changes. Thus, this study estimates changes in Japan’s tourist consumption, the carbon footprint (CFP), and employment due to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The calculations in this study adopt a lifecycle approach using input–output tables. Based on these observations, this study uses four scenarios (SR 1, no recovery until December; SR 2, recovery from October; SR 3, recovery from July or September; and SR 0, same growth rate as 2018–2019) for Japan to calculate the CFP and employment change using input–output table analysis based on tourist consumption, which is a tourism metric. According to our results (2019 vs. SR 1 and 3), the consumption loss is between 20,540 billion yen (−65.1%) and 12,704 billion yen (−39.1%), the CFP reduction is between 89,488 kt-CO2eq (−64.2%) and 54,030 kt-CO2eq (−37.5%), and the employment loss is between 2,677,000 people (−64.2%) and 1,678,000 people (−37.5%). As of November 2020, the tourism industry continues to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the post-COVID-19 society, it will be necessary to maintain the GHG emissions reductions achieved in this short period and realize economic recovery. This recovery must also be sustainable for tourism stakeholders and society. Full article
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Article
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), Traveler Behaviors, and International Tourism Businesses: Impact of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Knowledge, Psychological Distress, Attitude, and Ascribed Responsibility
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8639; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12208639 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2340
Abstract
The international tourism industry is among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Due to this tourism crisis, this research attempted to uncover the possible influence of the corporate social responsibility efforts of the international tourism businesses and of the knowledge of COVID-19 [...] Read more.
The international tourism industry is among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Due to this tourism crisis, this research attempted to uncover the possible influence of the corporate social responsibility efforts of the international tourism businesses and of the knowledge of COVID-19 on the US travelers’ decision formation for international tourism products. A quantitative approach and survey methodology were used. The findings revealed that corporate social responsibility improves travelers’ attitudes and behavioral intentions. In addition, the travelers’ knowledge perception of COVID-19 was significantly associated with their psychological distress. Decreasing this psychological distress related to overseas tourism was of importance to boost a positive attitude toward international traveling, which directly leads to increased behavioral intentions. Testing for the metric invariance revealed that an association between the corporate social responsibility and intentions was only significant when the travelers strongly felt an ascription of responsibility for the COVID-19 outbreak and the pandemic. The theoretical uses and the practical values of this research are discussed. Full article
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Article
COVID-19 Impacts and Recovery Strategies: The Case of the Hospitality Industry in Spain
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8599; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12208599 - 16 Oct 2020
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 7879
Abstract
The health crisis caused by the pandemic COVID-19 has been of such magnitude that the drop-off in economic and tourist activity in most countries is generating an economic crisis with consequences that are still difficult to measure. The present work analyses the origins [...] Read more.
The health crisis caused by the pandemic COVID-19 has been of such magnitude that the drop-off in economic and tourist activity in most countries is generating an economic crisis with consequences that are still difficult to measure. The present work analyses the origins and evolution of the coronavirus pandemic and reviews the literature related to the impacts and recovery strategies that were implemented in previous crisis situations affecting the hotel industry. In order to focus the study on one country, Spain was selected based on tourism indicators, the importance of tourism for this country and the importance of Spain as a leader in international tourist destinations. The influence of the pandemic on the Spanish tourism sector and, more specifically, on its hospitality industry is explored in depth. In addition, the main initiatives to support the tourism and hospitality sector that have been undertaken at the global, European and national levels are highlighted and, finally, the response and recovery strategies of the five largest Spanish hotel chains to guarantee a COVID-19-free stay in their facilities and to recover the accommodation activity are discussed. Full article
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Article
Apocalypse Now or Overreaction to Coronavirus: The Global Cruise Tourism Industry Crisis
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6968; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12176968 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3891
Abstract
The current COVID-19 cruise tourism crisis has evolved to epic proportions and placed some of the cruise lines on the verge of bankruptcy. This research aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the crisis. Using an inductive qualitative approach, interviews were conducted with [...] Read more.
The current COVID-19 cruise tourism crisis has evolved to epic proportions and placed some of the cruise lines on the verge of bankruptcy. This research aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the crisis. Using an inductive qualitative approach, interviews were conducted with eight frequent cruisers who were at home and eight cruise ship employees who were employed by various cruise companies and who were working on cruise ships during the COVID-19 cruise tourism crisis. The findings revealed a systematic failure within the cruise industry management to understand the COVID-19 pandemic. Results of this study highlight the importance of health-related perceived risks on the nature and impact of the COVID-19 cruise tourism crisis. This study supports the overall theory of cruise tourism and crisis management by extending the chaos theory and its principals on the COVID-19 cruise tourism crisis. The managerial implications for cruise lines are outlined. Full article
Article
The Mechanism of Tourism Risk Perception in Severe Epidemic—The Antecedent Effect of Place Image Depicted in Anti-Epidemic Music Videos and the Moderating Effect of Visiting History
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5454; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12135454 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1447
Abstract
Tourism risk perception is proven to have significant influence on tourists’ decision-making behaviors, however, the impact of the place image depicted in the cultural media of destinations on it needs to be further studied. The study explores the mechanism of potential tourists’ risk [...] Read more.
Tourism risk perception is proven to have significant influence on tourists’ decision-making behaviors, however, the impact of the place image depicted in the cultural media of destinations on it needs to be further studied. The study explores the mechanism of potential tourists’ risk perception in severe COVID-19 epidemics with the antecedent effects of the place image depicted in anti-epidemic music videos, and the impact of risk perception on potential tourists’ place attachment and travel intention, based on the risk perception theory. This study also explores the moderating effect of the visiting history on balancing risk perception, place attachment, and travel intention. With empirical research, the study result indicates that in severe epidemics: (1). The place image depicted in anti-epidemic music videos has a significant negative effect on tourism risk perception; tourism risk perception has a significant negative effect on potential tourists’ place attachment and travel intention; (2). The tourism risk perception mediates between the place image depicted in the music videos and potential tourists’ place attachment and travel intention; (3). Visiting history modulates the influence of tourism risk perception, potential tourists’ place attachment, and travel intention. This research would be helpful if it enriches the theoretical content of risk perception, expands the theoretical foundation of tourists’ decision making, promotes the application of music videos in tourism research, and proposes empirical risk management countermeasures of tourism destination. Full article
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Article
Impact of Geographic Distribution of COVID-19 Cases on Hotels’ Performances: Case of Polish Cities
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4697; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12114697 - 09 Jun 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4570
Abstract
The main goal of the article is to describe the short-term impacts of reported new cases and deaths of the COVID-19 disease on hotels’ performances in the nine major Polish urban hotel markets: Kraków, Warszawa, Poznań, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Lublin, Łódź, Katowice, and Sopot. [...] Read more.
The main goal of the article is to describe the short-term impacts of reported new cases and deaths of the COVID-19 disease on hotels’ performances in the nine major Polish urban hotel markets: Kraków, Warszawa, Poznań, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Lublin, Łódź, Katowice, and Sopot. Time range of the analysis covers the period from January 5, 2020 (the beginning of the very first week when the COVID-19 cases were evidenced) to March 14, 2020 (the initial phase of lockdown was introduced by the Polish government). Various geographical contexts of the COVID-19 impacts are considered: national, European, and global. Generalized method of moments was applied to investigate the influence of reported COVID-19 cases (deaths) on both occupancy and revenue per available room. The results show that the most significant, negative impact of the pandemic on hotel performances is confirmed at the European level of the COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, the negative influence of national cases of COVID-19 is more significant in less internationalized (or less-populated) urban destinations. Thus, the hotel industry (especially in the most internationalized, biggest Polish cities) might be recovered only when issues of the COVID-19 epidemic will be solved at the European level. Full article
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